Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
Are you going through a storm right now? Something so difficult or traumatic that you aren't sure you'll make it to tomorrow?
Don't give up hope. It often takes a storm to get our minds off our own plans and ways and onto God's greater plan—to realize there's a purpose for our life that is far better than our own. Our storms help draw us closer to God than anything else. So when we're facing a storm, let's remember three things as we learn to ride it with God, instead of letting it control and overwhelm us.
1) Nothing that happens to us happens by chance. Everything comes by way of a plan and purpose, no matter how chaotic or random it may appear to us at the moment. God is God and we aren't. It means he's in charge of the universe and has a purpose and a will that far exceeds our own. God uses both good and evil to accomplish his will. Whatever it is, good or bad, it has to pass first by the Creator of all things. We may never have an adequate answer in this life to our questions, “Why does God permit evil?” or “Why did this happen to me?,” but we do know that God intends to exploit evil to the full, to bring about his good purposes in a world of tornadoes, cancer, genocide, violence, human foolishness, financial reversal, divorce, and all the rest.
2) No matter how utterly our hopes and dreams have been devastated by a life storm, in the midst of the ruins we can see the foundation for hope and recovery. In the aftermath of a tornado or hurricane, it appears that nothing is left to salvage. But right there under the shards of glass, piles of rubble, and splinters of wood, is the foundation. Similarly, if we look closely enough at the crumbling ruins of our life, there in the destruction is the most obvious evidence of hope to rebuild—our foundation. Our immovable foundation is Jesus Christ and the ever-reliable mercy and grace of God. It isn't our faith that's so great, but God's loving kindness, which created our faith and brings it back again when it seems to have blown away. The foundation, the character of God, always remains the same.
3) Even though nothing in our lives is so secure it can't be taken away, there is nothing that can be taken that God can't restore to us. This really does sound impossible when taking into account the loss of a loved one, but this truth is at the heart of the Christian faith. It's called the resurrection. It means that even our life on this earth—which we know absolutely will end one day—can be restored. We come to believe in the reality of resurrection of our bodies and all of creation based on our daily life experiences. God knows that it's very hard for us to believe in what we can't see, so he gives us many little resurrections (the God-incidences) in our present life. He rescues us time after time in the most obvious ways. We can't possibly fail to recognize it as the work of some invisible, intelligent force, and can expect the same at the end of life.
So let's be a Storm Rider. Let us be absolutely confident that God will do what he loves to do and has done since the very beginning: to create for us a rescue ex nihilo (out of nothing). When there is no way out, no exit, no human hope for survival, God speaks into existence a way out and a way in—a way out of our plight and a way into a real, joyful life of fulfillment. This is the meaning of an exodus. As Pastor Chris Linzey says in his article, I'm Broken Inside, "May we all have that kind of faith that holds us close to God no matter what the situation or consequence."
And pray, even when your faith seems to have vanished. Wait for a full, God-designed exodus, not merely an exit from your problem. Keep on asking until something happens. If you don't know what to say, try this: My faith is at very low tide, Lord. I don't know how to trust you right now. I'm too weary and wounded even to believe that you're there. I really don't know if you are. And if you are, I'm not able to believe that you know my name or care about me. I'm sorry for all this, but right now it's the best I can do. Help me when I can't believe anything.
We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28